UHWI in a 'tough situation'

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UHWI in a 'tough situation'

Staff told hospital recorded 70% reduction in revenue amid COVID-19

BY KIMONE FRANCIS
Senior staff reporter
francisk@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

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University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kevin Allen says the regional institution has seen a dramatic reduction in revenues since the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic, though it has managed to stay afloat through “a trying time”.

The CEO was speaking to staff members during a virtual meeting, the recording for which was obtained by the Jamaica Observer, when he announced that the hospital has seen a 70 per cent reduction in revenue.

“We are operating in a trying time. Our services are down 50 per cent, in some areas even more, and at the same time the expenses, they have increased. I dare not say that we've managed to maintain them,” Allen told the staff.

“We've taken on additional responsibility, providing optimum care at zero cost to the citizens, and this has placed a significant burden on our ability to operate. Our operational cost, I would say, has increased in the region of 60-70 per cent, while at the same time the revenue is down with the corresponding number,” he added.

As a result, the CEO said the hospital's management team has, since March when the country recorded its first COVID-19 case, faced constant “predicament”.

“Yet still, management remains resolute, remains focused, remains strong. And, we'll continue to pursue that vision where we want to ensure that the facility is fully equipped, that the staff are well-trained, that we attain financial sustainability, and that we serve the people of Jamaica, the people of the region, with a high level of customer service.

“But I daresay that there comes a time when we will have to ensure that we can check the boxes on a continuous basis, because the financial piece of it is very, very important,” said Allen.

He said the hospital's administration will reach out to the Ministry of Health and Wellness for “extra budgetary support”, noting that at times “they have responded favourably” along with corporate Jamaica, which management is expected to continue to lobby “as we strive to keep the plant going”.

Meanwhile, Allen reprimanded members of staff who, he said, lacked focus, and insisted that there is cohesiveness in ensuring that the hospital offers a strong product to patients.

“What I'm talking about? I'll put it this way: We must take great care of the resources that have been placed in our hands, in how we manage those resources and how we account for them. Wasting the resources at a time like now is not helping the situation, and so what I'm asking us to do is, where we see waste, please feel free to bring it to the management's attention so that we can take the necessary corrective action to remedy that situation,” said Allen.

“It is hard to imagine that we would find ourselves in such a tough situation, but we're not doing too bad,” he added, “with little or minimal resources.”

“I know you know the challenges that we face and I want to ask of you to continue to support us as we continue to strive to serve the people of Jamaica; as we continue to work with our partners... We have a major task ahead of us in 2021. I want to ensure that we are all here to put our shoulders to the wheel and turn,” Allen stated.


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